tv [untitled] June 15, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
we have to be respectful of that. and yet try and provide security, and if they get in trouble, go and rescue them, which we do. so we have to -- we have to listen, be respectful, and try and be as helpful as we can, recognizing we are not the ones in the lead in this area. we are the ones in support. and in the end, i think we're capable of learning those lessons, and i think we're working very hard to do so. >> johanna, in some of the countries that have come up in this conversation so far, you've got people in charge who hope to be in charge for a long time. and they are taking a view of their country as it is and as it may be that involves getting people help. so that it -- they may be associated with it down the road. but a frightening and i think quite disturbing aspect of the current state of play is that there are people in charge of places that are ready to see widespread civilian death.
it's not in their interests to make sure things are turned around quickly. and we see that in the horrifying level of civilian death in somalia, there's aspects of that in afghanistan where people who want to be in charge are ready to see people that they want to be in charge of die in large numbers and don't see it in their interest to turn it around. it must be just maddening to try to create alliances on the ground that deliver aid, that deliver development, when there's a sort of nihilism at work in some of these local leaders that it's hard to get around. >> well, i always get the tough questions, ray. >> i was saving that one for you. >> i know. it's always good to have a friend on the panel. but i think what you're referring to is, i like to think about how we approach the entire area of this post-cold war period in three generations.
and what you're describing is this third generation where the global leadership is really in a state of flux. we certainly have the leadership of the united states in terms of our strength, our strategy, and our vision. but we also have many new actors. and that makes it much more difficult to try and resolve these conflicts in the multi-lateral forum, which our president endorses and which we work in, to get a resolution. but i think our colleague from yemen is a good example of the civil society role which is increasingly getting a voice through the twitter map. as mr. ritter said. the expansion and the ability to express dissent is so much greater than when we started in this field, gayle. the ability to reach out technologically with other people creates something that i don't think even these individuals who want to stay in power can relate to. and i think that is the hope in many of these things. we also have come full circle. we started out in this field thinking conflict prevention was
just a nice idea, but, in fact, we've now developed tools which really work. and the development agencies, the usaid, the millennial challenge, are all working in ways which prevent conflict to deal not only with wars but these kinds of dramatic constitutional crises we face that are not armed conflicts but are really political conflicts of which we have less ability to move but where we need to deal with people. >> can i just add something there? i hate to be old enough to be able to look over a period of many years, but i can. and i think, ray, you're absolutely right. and those situations exist all over the world. but i think there have been some unbelievable changes. one is, as was just suggested, these crises don't exist in the dark anymore. i mean i cut my teeth to large extent during the '84/'85 famine
in ethiopia where no one would talk about the famine behind the lines. they would talk about the famine on the government-held side. i used to break into u.n. meetings and be very disruptive and say, there's another famine behind the lines. because there wasn't twitter, there wasn't e-mail, there wasn't internet. so that's a huge change. i think the second is, again, we're not where we need to be, but these issues are discussed and out there in the international affairs forum in the way they didn't used to be. it used to be lonely work to try to get people to pay attention to these. now a combination of the internet, i think a huge factor has been activism and the interest of young people in advocacy in this whole set of issues. the third is i think for as many people as there are who want to suppress and oppress and deny people even their survival, we're seeing a huge uptick in the people that want to push in the other direction. whether it's in yelin or
elsewhere you've got government speaking up about that 20 years ago would have casually let it happen on their borders. now, none of that is enough, but i think the trajectory is one that over time, it will be more and more difficult to be able to perpetrate the kind of abuse that we've seen. again, i don't want to overstate it. i think we're not out of the woods, but i think the trajectory is quite exciting potentially. >> nadwa, can you do everything right and still end up not making the kind of progress you hoped for? i mean when i look at yemen, it's one of the most water-short places on earth. so you could do your governance right, you could do your creation of local links right, you could do your planning, all your relationships. and if it doesn't rain and there's nothing in the aquifer, all of that is not really going to matter that much. >> well, i mean, yes. working in conflict
environments, you don't see the change quickly. it's sometimes frustrating. but then when you work with the communities and you work with indigenous structures, you invest in indigenous systems, you also see a lot of opportunities. i mean, yes, countries -- yemen is one of seven -- i think seven countries that are water stressed -- most water stressed in the world, but we also have resources that are not invested mainly because of the problems we have in security. we have mining sectors definitely that are underdeveloped in yemen. tourism sector. i mean i'm sure you know yemen is a beautiful country, it's an ancient civilization. we have over 2 huchb,000 kilometers of coastlines in addition to islands.
and, i mean, i think what we're doing is also is creating some change at the community level, is creating some demand for good governance, demand to make the government accountable to the people. and in my opinion, if anything could end yemen's problem, it would be a legitimate state. a state that's seen by the people as responding to their needs, that's accountable, that's transparent, that's not corrupt. >> this is a pretty complicated time right now, though, isn't it? i mean, one regime leaves, another one not quite set up, and large parts of the country in the control of anti-state forces. >> well, i mean, i think we're one step forward. we yemenis think that we've elected the right person in place. there are huge challenges, definitely. i mean, it's not going to be an easy transition. we are aware of that. but yemen has been through a lot of similar problems in the past. most of the areas of the country
are outside the state control, but they are under the control of tribes. and i personally see, from my experience -- and i believe that -- that the tribes can be a force that's very supportive of change. the tribal indigenous systems have been resolving a lot of conflicts in the country. there are studies that show that 90% of tribal conflict over resources, over land, over development, are prevented by the indigenous system. so i think there are so many resources in yemen that are not realized. and i think once you realize these resources and work with them, rather than bringing, i don't know, ready-made formulas from somewhere else, i think there is a big chance that you can make the change that we desire.
we yemenis are very helpful, are very hopeful. we think that we're going to come out of this transition -- come out of this transition and be, you know, on the way to be a strong country. >> i'm glad you brought up ready-made solutions from somewhere else because on one level, they get a bad rap. they are ready-made because they've worked in other places and they are fast. but they don't necessarily have longitudinal power. because unless you want to stay and do them forever, they end up sort of as institutional orphans in the places where you've been worked. and when i've done reporting in the developing world, i've seen that conflict over and over between creating local capacity and perhaps doing something a
lot slower than you would want to and seeing the results a lot more slowly than you would want to, but also knowing that unless you do it this way, if you came back in two years, there'd be nothing left to your work. i want to hear more from the panel on that. >> let me just -- if you haven't gone back and read this 1950s classic in a while, "the ugly american," i highly recommend it. it's a.i.d. done upside down. it's everything wrong. and it's exactly your point, ray. and there's a wonderful vignette about creating a local solution to the ability to move water using bicycles and locally manufactured panels to move the water, et cetera, et cetera. so first point is that idea of local solutions. and i think nadwa brings that up. and i think we heard that also from our heads of state a little
earlier. secondly, i would not underestimate the power of technology, democracy, and the social networks, when you put those three things together. water, for example. george diamatis, the ex-prize fighter, published a new book called "abundance: why things are not as bad as you think." it's a very counterintuitive book that looks at the impact technology will have on sal inization of water. it looks at vertical farming. it looked at the advent of social networks and their impact on moving democracy. there's a lot of good that's happening and i wouldn't underestimate that piece of it. i'd offer those two thoughts. >> i was just going to add another point. that is, we don't have a lot of patience as a society. our historical memory is very short. most of the successes that we've cited go back 20 and 30 years. the timeline to implement these
changes is not short. but the five-year planning cycles that we have or the budgetary cycles make it seem as though we're not succeeding. so that's the first thing. the second point is metrics. we measure how we do but we don't measure how people on the ground are actually implementing things. i think it's really important. because this is not the one size fits all. but many people on the ground may feel that they're making progress and we don't necessarily capture that in our reporting back. and i think there are three things we need in the united states to really move forward. one is we certainly need additional capacity to help. the world is going to have more crises, they're not going to get fewer. but we also need to be legitimate, and that means listening to the people on the ground and their solutions so that when after, if there is a military action, that legitimacy is helped. and we have to be willing to burden share in the sense of letting others, both the private sector, the humanitarian sector, as well as other intergovernmental organizations
work with us. i think we've done that pretty well in many theaters, but we have to do more. and those things make us successful. and i finally see a lot of them coming together. but patience not only is a virtue but it is something we often lack when we're trying to get things done. >> i mean i think -- look. i think, look, somebody somewhere concluded that post-conflict, post-crisis transitions are supposed to last two years, and i don't know who that person was. seriously. i was in rwanda where in '95 and '96, people were already saying, why can't everybody just reconcile and let's get on with it. it was kind of dramatic. but i think there are a couple of other things. development isn't something that doesn't happen unless we're there. people tend to seek solutions to the shortcomings in their lives regardless of whether we show up. and i think one of the changes we've seen, i don't think we can
get away with the ready-made one size fits all anymore. i find myself, there are very, very few circumstances, whether it's that you have a government that's putting political skin in the game and has a view and you might shape or influence it. you've got community leaders -- if you look at the changes in implementing agencies and local partners, there are a lot more local partners. and it's not just because they tend to have a better sense of what they need than someone from the outside, but because there's a demand there. so i think we're seeing a turning of the tide. now, i think where it lookses very different is when you mention things like water. where i thenk that's the kind of development discussion, whether it's post-crisis or preventing the kind of crises we're going to see out of resource scarcity where nobody's got a red-made solution and it's going to take everybody to come together around the table.
i mean we spend a lot of time thinking about the fact that yemen has an acute water shortage. that affects not only yemen but as you pointed out so clearly, that's going to affect us in the entire region. >> so let me just jump in there for a second. because, all right, you've made very good presentations for why local ownership and capacity creation on the ground is important in development. and, you know, i hear that enough to be willing to stipulate that it's true. but if we add on conflict, if we add on humanitarian crises, where you don't have the same sort of timelines available to you, i think one of the most wrenching moments i've had in my life as a reporter was to sit by -- in one of the tent cities inside a tent outside port-au-prince where everyone had fled after the quake and they were by the airport.
and there's the airport, 15-foot-high cyclone fences topped with razor wire, and you're sitting in a scooby-doo bedsheet tent with someone, and they can sit in this public park and look across the road and see pallets piled high with water, with food, with pumps, with cans, with kitchen items. and they say, you know, we could just run across the road and tear that fence down and start giving this out. we've been waiting for days. we've been waiting for weeks to get out of this camp and we really want to. why? because i'm like an american flag to them. it's hard to explain that, oh, hey, i'm a journalist. i'm not supposed to have the answers. they would say, you tell me why we're not getting that stuff.
and the answer -- the real answer is, i don't know. but a more thoughtful answer probably wouldn't cut much ice. you don't have that same kind of timeline in conflict, and you don't have it in disaster. >> well, and you also don't have -- i mean in the case of haiti, for example, where you start with a country that didn't have great lodgistical operational capabilities built in on the ground to begin with. you have a crisis of that magnitude. and i think -- i totally understand the frustration with the delays. but it took some time to set up the operational system to actually deliver to that many people. now -- >> it won't surprise you to find out that answer didn't get me a lot of -- cut much ice in the tent. >> and it doesn't, but it gets to another point, which is -- one of the things i think we could do more of, and i think we underestimate, is how much people who are the direct targets or objects of some huge humanitarian crisis can themselves manage a leaf operation.
i remember i was a reporter once and being in the refugee camps in eastern sudan where there were probably in excess of 300,000 or 400,000 refugees from ethiopia and eritrea and they sent in all the relief workers and set up clinics. and the refugees went on strike. and they said, we can run our own clinics. we have people who know how to do the basic tests. we have midwives. we don't need all of you to come in and do it. and it was -- people were completely flabbergasted. you're supposed to be a dependent, passive, helpless individual, we're supposed to be here to help you. i think figuring out how we can rely more fully on people to organize themselves is one of the most important things i think of an effective humanitarian operation. i think there was some of that in haiti. i'll just tell you, from where i sat, there was no airport one day and then your guys went in and there was an airport the next morning, so, you know.
>> but there is a factor that i think we haven't mentioned yet, and that is, the discovery -- although it shouldn't be a discovery -- of the critical role that women in these communities play. and in haiti, where i spent a lot of my time, or even in colombia or in african communities, women organize these tent cities. women were the ones who found -- they didn't break down the fence, but they were the ones who organized the food chains. and i know there are going to be panels later on in this program that focus on the importance of addressing women as entrepreneurs, women as development agents. we can't underestimate in many of these situations the critical role that they've played in ensuring, in the most horrific humanitarian crises, how they become the agents of moving things forward. and the timelines are very short, but, in fact, you see time and time again, whether it's for security or development, that the women are out in the front. >> taking that point entirely, if i could add another thought
of how you could prepare for this, maybe two thoughts. one is to exercise, one is to practice this kind of thing. and i think we do this a lot in the military. but i think if we could do more exercising and practicing with our partners in advance of crisis, i think that would be in advance of crisis, i think that would be helpful, and we have a number of small initiatives we're working in my particular command in this regard, so i think exercise practice is one thing, and the second thing is, ray, and it gets again to technology and how technology can help us, it's -- it's having a competent crisis center, one that -- at a.i.d., for example, that can manage this, and our technologies are so vastly better than they were even ten years ago. i don't think we've -- we've driven the technology into our crisis management centers. i know we haven't done that fully in the military. we're working hard on it, so i would say those two things, exercises of practice, crisis management centers that really take advantage of technology are
also ways we can do better to avoid putting you on the spot like that. >> i'm happy to be the american flag in those cases. nadwa, i'm sorry, i cut you off. you were about to say. >> oh, well, i was going to follow through with what gayle said with regard to development assistance. you know, i -- i said this before. it's the most important thing in countries that have conflict is building a legitimate state, and i -- when i say a legitimate state, it doesn't have to be strong state immediately. a legitimate state is a state that's seen by the people as at least a state that's wanting to address their problems and meet their needs, and so i think one important thing for development assistance and foreign assistance and foreign policy is that they have to be -- to go in line with each other. foreign policy should support
development assistance, and i'm going to bring the case as an example. i think foreign policy, particularly counterterrorism at airports in yemen have to some extent undermined development assistance, and so over ten years the counterterrorism assistance to the former regime has helped strengthen the grip of the dictator and his family over power, over military and over resources and only made him a stronger dictator. at the same time, the usaid continues to do a great job in terms of helping yemen improve health, education services, et cetera, et cetera, but no matter how much development work you do, if your government is helping a dictator, it's not going to work. it's going to work probably in
the immediate term, but in the long term it's not going to work, and so i think, and i'm not judging intentions, of course. i'm sure that intentions are good. i think that this ones learned or the only lesson learned or the biggest lesson learned from this is that dictators are not good agents for change or development or peace. dictators create problems, create wars, and so working with them is not a good investment. >> some people wanted to applaud, but they were looking around to see who was signature nearby. that brings us to a terrific juncture, and i think we have enough time to hear from everyone on this before we close the program. you know, there's a tremendous amount of value put on collaboration, and there's a tremendous amount of talk about finding partners, both coming in
from outside along with you and on the ground because no one wants to do everything by themselves anymore, and that's great. that makes a lot of sense, but the reasons why people are doing these various things are often very different, and what they want out of the end is very different. some really are doing this to be able to give out bibles, so if they have to give out food first in order for you to be awake to read the bible, cool. we'll feed you first and then we'll give you the bible. some want to make sure that a place is not going to be a locust of instability and state failure and otherwise we're not really that worried about how people are getting by day to day. sure, would we rather have more people read than less? sure. would we rather have fewer people dying of thirst than more, sure, but beyond those very simple metrics, the only reason we're in there is so that the place doesn't become a source of potential problems and further problems down the road.
yet here you are, a religious group over here, a secular group over there, a governmental group over there, an international ngo over there, all doing the things that you're doing for slightly different reasons, perhaps sharing many goals, but have you to create rough and ready partnerships right there in the heat of battle. is it as easy as i am told that it is? i can't believe it, but i'm told that it's actually pretty easy. are there times where suddenly the tensions between those different agendas become quite apparent, and you have to constantly renegotiate the terms of the arrangement and the terms of the relationship. gayle? >> i feel like i should have an answer that says it's really impossible, that this is a complex mess, but i actually -- i don't think it is. i think there are three ingredients that have made it
less complicated than it may appear on the surface. i think there's three ingredients that are necessary. one that's been mentioned is transparency. if these programs and interventions and activities of a range of partners aren't transparent, then you get in the conflicting intent, and i think you run into a number of problems. the second is data and facts, and it's -- it's quite extraordinary, and i think it's a very good thing. facts in both the relief and development spheres have gained increasing currency, and so that having data which shows -- i mean, you made a reference to 90% of internal tensions or conflicts being resolved through indigenous systems, that kind of data is available now so that strength of opinion, while still potent, is not the driving force as much as it once was. i think the third thing, and this is really demand from the
bottom. you can have kwebconstituents oe side or the other. it's been my experience that there's a demand for accountability made available by twitter and everything else, made easier by the fact that there's a lot more people involved in development than used to be, that push up against this, and i think that the place that i've seen a lot of incredible transformation in this is in global health where you've got motivations that are multiple. there are motivations that people need to have secure health systems so that you can manage biosecurity. there are faith-based perspectives across the spectrum. single disease, this and that, this and that. it's these things transparency data and demand that have transformed that field in a way that you've got extraordinary
constellations of actors working together in the same direction. is it quite that neat and tied up in a bow? absolutely not. but i find it's a lot less difficult than -- than your question i think suggests that it might be. that's certainly been my experience. >> i guess i've been in and around this type of operation for over 35 years, and it is -- it is much better than it was, and i think that you need only look at, to pick one of many examples, the war in vietnam and look at the battles between a.i.d. doing court, and the military and the emsay, it was extremely conflicting, and i think we could find other examples kind of along the road whereas today, particularly when i look at the cooperation between rob shaw, secretary clinton, secretary panetta and secretary gates, secretary gates was very much wanted to be totally supportive, and i think there's an instinctive integration of diplomacy,
defense and development that is real and is happening, and then thirdly, ray, why it's better is, again, technology helps us because that gives us the transparency gayle is talking about and allows us to have liaisons on video teleconference and connecting and in haiti, for example, one of my favorite pictures is rod shaw, hillary clinton and ken keene who is the three-star general who was the military guy supporting those and sean penn talked about the private sector and bringing kind of a different look to the whole thing, but working together. that was real and on the ground and it happened relatively quickly, despite the frustrations and the failures and the missteps, so i'm with gayle. it's way from perfect, but it's -- it's also way better than it was. >> and i also think that the world hasn't stood still over these years, that many countries that are not the major